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NFLPA officially gets rid of “runners”


Agents who break the rules have lost an advantage, with the “junior rule” prohibiting contact with underclassmen going away. The termination of that rule means that agents who follow the rules will once again be on equal footing with those who don’t.

And there’s more bad news for agents who break the rules. They’ll no longer be able to use “runners” to help fish for incoming players. (Yeah, I wedged “fish” into this so the picture would make sense.) As agent Ralph Cindrich said recently, “If you are an agent you have to be in control of your office. If you employ runners what you really have are dirty partners.”

An April 10 memo to agents explaining the changes has been “obtained by” (i.e., given to), a union-licensed website that some would say is no different than the league-owned (At least the NFL’s connection to and potential influence over is obvious.)

Now, all persons involved in the recruitment of a player must be NFLPA-certified agents.

The NFLPA’s Board of Player Representatives also has created a new procedure for resolving fee disputes when multiple agents who represent the same player part ways. Now, the player will be able to deposit his fee into escrow.

All three moves make a lot of sense. The “junior rule” gave too much power to unregulated advisers and those agents who still contacted underclassmen despite the prohibition. Runners have caused many problems, in part because the NFLPA has no jurisdiction over them. And too many players have been caught between squabbling agents; this new procedure gives them a way to stay out of the crossfire.

We now return to topics about which the other 99.5 percent of the audience cares.